Say what you want; the weekend getaway is an art few have mastered.
A tight timeframe, maximum coverage, and the energy and enthusiasm to see it all through with aplomb takes some practice, but for the purpose of this article, we’re going to assume our readers are seasoned pros.
All we’re offering are a few underrated destinations from every corner of the country to add to your weekend warrior hit list and, of course, a banging hotel to crash at while you’re there. We think you’ll like them.
Time to hit the road.
Location: Burlington, Vermont
Vibe: Victorian splendor
The rundown: Vermont as a whole slips well under the radar of many travelers. Often dwarfed by the big favorites like Massachusetts and Connecticut, those who venture to Vermont’s colorful pastures are in for a surprise. Blessed with one of the greatest fall treescapes in the country, the state is a true New English gem.
The star of the show is Burlington, the largest city in the state (and the least populous city in the US to be the most populous in a state). It’s charming, with creative energy fueled by the local university, and boasts several well-outsized attractions. We’d recommend staying in Blind Tiger, a stunning Victorian mansion kept in pristine condition. Breakfast in the sunroom before a day of exploration is perfection.
Light Horse Inn
Location: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Vibe: Country roadsssss, take me homeee
The rundown: West Virginia is ludicrously overlooked by American travelers. Looming quietly in the shadow of the Shenandoah Mountains, the entire state is ripe for exploration by outdoor enthusiasts. The little town of Harpers Ferry even ticks the boxes for history buffs, too.
While it’s perfect as a base for hiking, rafting, and the rest, a stay in the town is as close to stepping back in time as you’ll find anywhere in the country. Its old town is, in effect, an open-air museum designed to remain as it was in the 19th century. Light Horse Inn is the place to stay. Starting life over two hundred years ago as an inn for hopeful prospectors heading to the Western frontier, it’s a piece of history you can live in.
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina
Vibe: Carolina’s finest
The rundown: Wilmington is already a growing favorite for northern snowbirds, but it’s yet to really grip the tourist market beyond its own state. Inundated with multiple outstanding beaches and showcasing a fantastic historic district along the Cape Fear River, North Carolina’s eighth-biggest city is a stunner (and writer Steven’s old stomping grounds).
Its beer scene is spectacular, its culinary delights are vast, and the atmosphere is always poised perfectly between party-hard and chilled-out. For a stay, we’d recommend The Hive, a brilliant little 15-room hotel in the downtown region. It’s stumbling distance to all the best bars and restaurants and an easy drive to the beach. As a sidebar, for all those millennials still wishing they went to One Tree Hill High, Wilmington served as the backdrop.
The Pfister Hotel
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Vibe: Lakeside luxury
The rundown: Milwaukee’s bigger than Atlanta, Miami, Kansas City, Raleigh, and Orlando. But how many of you have actually been there? And why not? It’s stunning! Perched on the banks of Lake Michigan, the city is bursting with European history, drowning (in a good way) in beer, and it’s super clean.
Wisconsin’s largest city deserves a place on your weekend getaway list, and the Pfister Hotel is the place to stay. Opened over 100 years ago and designed to be the epitome of luxury in the Midwest, it still holds that reputation today. Grab a couple of Buds and hit the road—Milwaukee’s calling.
The Rocky Mountains
Amigo Motor Lodge
Location: Salida, Colorado
Vibe: Mountain motor home
The rundown: You already know the Colorado big names. Why not try something a little more off the beaten track but just as exciting? Salida is regarded as the heart of the Rockies; laced from head to toe with biking and hiking trails and fueled by the gushing rapids of the Arkansas River, being bored is borderline impossible here.
For a unique stay in line with the feel of the town, grab an airstream in the Amigo Motor Lodge. Comfortable, stylish, and cool enough to make you a little giddy, it’s the perfect place to base yourself for adventure (and hopefully beat the crowds in the process).
Location: El Paso, Texas
Vibe: Budget on the border
The rundown: El Paso is a city on the rise. While its recent exposure may have more to do with politics and the complex immigration issues in the US, the border city has reveled in the attention. A flood of new hotels, restaurants, and other facets of the town have perked up, while the tried and true character that made it such a gem in the past remains.
Few cities offer such a blend of Mexico and the US, and as that balance may tip in the future, it’s a great time to visit. We’d recommend Hotel Indigo. While it’s a big franchise name, Indigos are always designed impeccably, offering an excellent experience at an even better price point.
The Pacific Coast
Ashland Springs Hotel
Location: Ashland, Oregon
Vibe: Art Deco Overload
The rundown: A renowned Shakespeare festival in the Southern Oregon mountains? What is this absurdity? While it might be absurd, it’s also bloody brilliant. Travelers come from near and far to enjoy the month-long festival in Ashland—they come back after falling in love with the town.
Far smaller than most of its popular neighboring cities, Ashland is picturesque to a fault. Regularly named at the top of lists with names like “ Best Art Towns in the US,” it’s a curiosity worthy of multiple trips. For a quirky stay, try the Ashland Springs Hotel, a ‘20S Art Deco building towering over the downtown area.